Belgian Laekenois

Type: Herding

Height: Females: 22 - 24 inches; Males: 24 - 26 inches.

Weight: 40 - 80 lbs. Average is 62 lbs.

Life Span: 12 - 14 years.

Litter Size: 6 -10 puppies

Country of Origin: Belgium

Activity: High

Watch-dog: Very High. The Laekenois is very alert and aware of its surroundings.

Guard-dog: Very High. The Laekenois will protect their family and property, but will not attack unwarranted.


Description: The Laekenois is one of the four Belgian shepherd dogs, but is not widely recognized outside their homeland. They are the rarest of the Belgian shepherds, and in the U.S. they are the only Belgian shepherd dog not recognized by the AKC. In addition, the four Belgian breeds are only recognized as separate breeds in the U.S. and Belgium; in every other country the four breeds are considered one, with four different variations. Laekenois are identified by their rough and wiry coat, as opposed to the smooth and fluffy coats of their counterparts. They are medium sized dogs, with prick ears and are fawn to mahogany in coloring. Belgian Laekenois are almost identical to the other Belgian Shepherd Dogs, except for their curly coat. They are shaggy looking and sometimes have a black face. The Laekenois is obedient, friendly and loyal to its family. They are good watchdogs and guard dogs as well, but will not attack unless they or one of their own is directly threatened. They are somewhat domineering in attitude, and a potential owner should recognize that they need to begin training early in order to be the "top dog" in the relationship. This breed is said to snap the least out of its cousins, the Groenendael, Tervuren and Malinois.Laekenois

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Other Names: Laekenois, Belgian Laekenois

Colors: Reddish fawn to mahogany coloring with black shading, principally on muzzle and tail.

Coat: Harsh, curly, wiry and dry.

Temperament: Laekenois are obedient, loyal, and good watch dogs. They will alert their owners of something unusual, and will make good guard dogs if called upon. They will only attack if there is a true threat, however. The Laekenois is agile, versatile and can be dominant to other pets and to its owner. Training early in life is needed. The breed is also sturdy, very trainable, and loves the outdoors, no matter what the weather.

With Children: Yes, good with their family, but should not play rough housing or chase games. The Laekenois may not tolerate other children.

With Pets: Yes, if it is socialized to other pets. Take extra care when introducing a new pet, as this breed has a prey drive. They may not get along with other dogs.

Care and Training: Daily combing and brushing of the Laekenois' coat is important. Clip out mats that form particularly in the ruff and on the legs. Clip hair from between their toes and on the outer ears. Bathe only when necessary. Shedding is bi-annually. they are a working dog and need a lot of exercise, preferably off the leash as much as possible. Early training will prevent puppies from developing a sharp temper. Herding games or a job to do are excellent sources of exercise.

Learning Rate: Very High. Obedience - Very High. Problem Solving - High. Overbearing training techniques may encourage fear-biting in this breed. The Laekenois is very intelligent, obedient and loyal.

Living Environment: The Laekenois will adapt well to both an urban or country environment as long as they have space to roam. A home with a fenced yard is essential. The best owner for this breed would be an active dog-experienced owner living in a rural or suburban environment.

Health Issues: Epilepsy, anesthesia sensitivity, cancer, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), thyroid problems, excessive shyness, eye problems, and hip and elbow dysplasia.

History: Developed in Belgium for guarding and herding of sheep. They were formally recognized as the Belgian Shepherd Dog in 1891. Present in the gene pool of these dogs there were dogs with long coats, short coats, rough or wired coats and a variance of colors. Making the Belgian Shepherd Dog with four varieties. The Groenendalel (known simple as the Belgium Sheepdog), with a solid long black coat, the Laekenois, a Developed in Belgium for guarding and herding sheep, the Belgian Laekenois is the rarest of all the shepherd dogs. They were formally distinguished from the other Belgian shepherd dogs in 1891. Present in the gene pool of this breed are alleles producing long coats, short coats, rough or wired coats and a variance of colors, giving the Belgian shepherd dogs four varieties. The Groenendael (known simple as the Belgian Sheepdog), with a long, solid black coat, the Laekenois, a rough or wire-coated breed in fawn, red or brown, the Malinois, a short coated dog in fawn, red or brown and the Tervueren, a long coated fawn or dark red dog. All of these dogs originated from the variance of sheepdogs that existed in Belgium towards the end of the 19th century. In the year of 1890, a man named Monsieur Nicholas Rose of the Cafe du Groenendael found a completely black, long-haired Belgian sheepdog in a litter. After buying a dog similar to this one, Monsieur Rose used selective breeding to create the Belgian Sheepdog, or Groenendael. In 1891 the breed was decided upon to develop and separate three more versions of this dog at the Brussels Veterinary University. The American Kennel Club has recognized three of these four varieties. The British Kennel Club regards them as a single breed and the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) states one breed with four varieties. The United States and Belgium are the only countries to accept at least three of the four of them as distinguished from each other as four separate breeds, instead of just variances of the same breed. Because of this, the dogs are always registered on their coat type and color, not of their parents. Today the Laekenois is rare even in its home country.

First Registered by the AKC: FSS (Foundation Stock Service - not yet eligible for the AKC)

AKC Group: FSS

Class: Herding

Registries: FCI (Group 1), KC(UK) (Pastoral), TKC, CKC (Group 7), ANKC (Group 5), NZKC (Working), UKC (Herding)